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Maryland unveils lifetime scholarship guarantee for all athletes

Scholarship athletes at Maryland will now have lifetime scholarships.

The school announced the "Maryland Way Guarantee" on Tuesday. The provision means that all athletes who finish their eligibility or leave the school under good standing prior to graduation will receive tuition, books and fees paid for until they graduate.

The provision applies to athletes in every sport at Maryland. Previously, Maryland's scholarships had been one-year financial aid agreements renewed annually.

“Our vision is to be the best intercollegiate athletic program while producing graduates who are prepared to serve as leaders in the local, state and global communities,” Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson said in a statement. “We are confident ‘The Maryland Way Guarantee’ will further demonstrate our commitment to our student-athletes’ pursuit of a college degree.”

The program begins in November 2014 with all incoming athletes. As part of its student athlete "bill of rights" announced in June, Indiana introduced multi-year guaranteed scholarships for athletes and financial support for tuition, books and fees for athletes who wanted to finish their degrees.

Earlier this summer, USC announced it would provide four-year scholarships for football, men's basketball and women's basketball.

Maryland's announcement comes after the NCAA's Board of Directors approved autonomy reforms for the Power Five conferences. The top five conferences will now have the ability to make rules that apply to themselves including provisions to provide scholarships that provide the full cost of attendance for athletes.

While the NCAA still permits schools to have one-year renewable scholarships, expect other schools to follow the lead of Indiana and Maryland and go above USC's four-year scholarship announcement. Schools continue to receive a lot of scrutiny regarding collegiate athletic reform, especially on the heels of U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken's ruling in the O'Bannon vs. NCAA case.

Changing the way scholarships are handled is not only a move that's beneficial to athletes and their futures but one that can help change public perception as well.

The NCAA is currently appealing Wilken's ruling.

For more Maryland news, visit TerrapinSportsReport.com.

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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